Hi again :-)


See two comments in line.







Zeitgeist is a data engine for the GNOME desktop. It logs and tags every
document, website, conversation, email, note and application that's is
opened on the GNOME desktop. All of the information is stored in one central
database for quick access and any application can easily add it's own data
to the mix. There are several user interfaces which show the information
stored in the database, sorting it by type, date, or relevance to other
files. They let users tag documents, bookmark them, and even attach custom
notes to each item in the database. One of the interfaces, currently being
developed by Siegried Gevatter as a GSoC project, even shows information
from Zeitgeist inside the new GNOME Shell.


Zeitgeist was founded eight months ago after the GNOME User Experience
hackfest in Boston. The first prototype was based on Mayanna/Gimmie and had
only two regular developers who hacked on it in their free time. Today, we
have a whole new codebase and there's already six developers who commit code
on a regular basis and several other community members who help test
Zeitgeist, handle bugs, and design mockups for future user interfaces. The
Zeitgeist team recently presented at the Ubuntu Developer Summit and
Zeitgeist is slated for adoption in future versions of UNR (Ubuntu Netbook
Remix). Zeitgeist is also going to be used in the as-of-yet unreleased
Ubuntu Parental Controls and is even at the heart of thesis paper and a PHD
research paper at a German university.

[I'd write:]

. is even at the heart of a bachelor thesis within the context of a PhD
research project at a German university.


Parts of Zeitgeist are based on ideas from the "Document Centric GNOME"
presentation which Federico Mena-Quintero gave at GUADEC 2008. His ideas
inspired a journal and a calendar interface for Zeitgeist which lets users
view files that they edited at previous points in time. In accordance with
some observations made by Dave Richards at the User Experience hackfest,
some of the Zeitgeist interfaces hide filenames and directories from users
in an attempt to free them from worrying about <i>where</i> files are
located on the hard drive. Instead, users can tag the files and find them
based on <i>what</i> type of file they are and what other files they're
related to.


However, the current user interfaces for Zeitgeist don't even give users a
hint of the real power which lies dormant under the surface. Our current
goal is to index as much information from as many different sources as fast
as we can. Once that's done, it'll be easy to build exciting new user
interfaces which pull information out of Zeitgeist's database and display it
to users in all sorts of innovative ways. For example, it should be possible
to let users build their own interfaces where they define what documents
they want to see and how they want those documents to be organized. For
example, one recent mockup lets users build custom "Smart Feeds" which
aggregate together all sorts of different files according to user-defined
filters. [1]


One of the key concepts in Zeitgeist is that users care about "Documents"
and not "Files." In other words, users don't want to be bothered with the
distinction between documents that are on their computer (files) and
documents that aren't on their computer. Therefore, we have plans to index
documents from online sources such as Google Documents, Flickr, and
Launchpad. In a world where everything is online, there's no reason why file
managers should focus only on local files!


[You could insert:]

Furthermore, Zeitgeist will introduce "Activities" as a new level of
grouping documents a user works with. Zeitgeist can therefore be seen as the
user's service for logging his activities as well as notifications about
what other actors are doing, such as incoming email or RSS messages. The
engine could thereby provide a common personal interface for
activity-related functionality. An example is searching for information
which one has used in the activity "preparing a specific presentation",
which helps in resuming this activity after a longer interrupt. The engine
will also support distributing common data of interest. As activities can be
performed in close cooperation, automatic sharing of documents related to an
activity among two buddies could help. As soon as one has finished something
he wants to share, he can tag it to be propagated to his peer or a group of


The biggest question that we're currently trying to answer is what's next.
We're already planning on adding on support for optionally using Tracker or
CouchDB as a backend in place of our own database. The aforementioned "Smart
Feeds" are also on the development map along with UbuntuOne integration, LAN
powered "Shared Feeds," and support for associating people with documents.
However, we're a versatile bunch and after that anything is possible. 


Zeitgeist is about humans- especially people like you and me who like
technology and want to make a better user experience for everyone. We care
just as much about the team work and the international cross-culture
collaboration that drives our work as we do about the end product that we
ship. We love to see new faces and hear new voices. A lot of our best
mockups are scribbled in love on the back of cafe napkins, which just goes
to show that you don't need fancy paper or great artistic skills in order to
innovate. We'd love to hear your voice as well. When we're not sleeping, we
live in the #gnome-zeitgeist channel on irc.gnome.org and will soon have our
own website up at zeitgeist-project.org. We look forward to seeing you and
hearing your idea for GNOME 3 and the next generation user interface.
Welcome to Zeitgeist!


[1] See http://natanyellin.com/2009/06/14/zeitgeist-mockup/

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